Network Universities

By showcasing relevant academic work globally this programme aims to enable collaborative ventures and knowledge exchange across policy makers, business and academia outside the Foundation’s formal programmes.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation Network Universities

Bangor University

Established in 1884 and based in Wales, Bangor University is one of the oldest degree awarding universities in the United Kingdom. Bangor University connects with a large business network, working on projects relevant to the development of a better understanding of the economic value of the biobased side of the circular economy. The BioComposites Centre is an industry facing research unit at Bangor University and is involved in a number of collaborative research projects including including BEACON, a nine year programme collaborating with Welsh SMEs to develop biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels in the production of chemicals, energy and materials, and ReBluBlos, a UK-China collaboration investigating the use of wheat straw residues as a feedstock for a range of high value applications

Georgia Institute of Technology University

Founded in 1885 and based in Atlanta, Georgia Tech is ranked among the world’s leading technological research universities, the institute’s mission is to improve the human condition through advanced science and technology.

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business enables innovation in business and education, through engagement and research efforts in thematic areas, including circular economy. Staff at the Brooks Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems seek to understand how information, energy and materials are utilised within large complex system and to discover novel approach for increasing economic resiliency. The Center for Biologicaly Inspired Design aims to take advantage and knowledge from strategies by which biological systems, at levels ranging from cells to ecosystems, provide principles that can be used to solve complex challenge in the design and manufacturing of human systems from products to city infrastructure.

Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz

Founded in October 2015, the Institute for Integrated Quality Design (IQD) is an interdisciplinary research institute located at the intersection of the management and engineering programmes at Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz.

The concept of a circular economy and design for circularity are the heart of the institute’s research and teaching. A cross-disciplinary Masters course covers the schools of thought behind a circular economy, the business and economic case for a transition and drills down to applications at a product design and management level. Via strong interdisciplinary collaboration, various other institutes at the university (e.g. in the areas of environmental management, polymer technologies and innovation management) contribute to circular research and teaching.

Loughborough University

Based in the UK’s East Midlands, Loughborough University is distinguished as one of the country’s top universities, with strong links to business and industry.

The centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Recycling Technologies (SMART) is a research centre based on Loughborough campus in Leicestershire, which also provides numerous courses on key topics relevant to the circular economy. It hosts the Sustainable Manufacture research group, which is a multi-disciplinary team working on projects to develop strategies, methodologies and enabling technologies that have long-term economic viability.

Northumbria University

Northumbria University is located in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, and has strong track record in creating and applying knowledge for the improvement of society through its global business, social and governmental networks that include Unilever, Philips, Nike, IBM, the BBC and NHS.

The School of Design is ranked as one of the best in Europe. It aims to produce research that addresses complex cultural, social and economic issues from a critical design perspective. It is a pioneer in design-led Multidisciplinary Innovation, with a particular focus on responsibility and Circular Economy thinking.

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Made up of 30,000 students and 3000 members of staff, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is a practice-focused, flexible education that aims to facilitate students and staff to develop innovative, business-relevant projects.

The institute has two main circular economy related activities. A minor: “Circular Economy (in the Cloud) & Business Innovation”, which teaches students about circular economy and how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can make the transition from linear to circular. Second, a research programme looking into the economic opportunities for Europe’s SMEs in the high technology and knowledge intensive services sectors in transitioning business models from linear to circular.

Skema Business School

Skema is a global business school with campuses in France, USA, China and Brazil. It develops a unique international strategy by training management leaders in the knowledge economy, its core aim is to bring together international academic and professional experience.

Business model innovation is a key part of both research and teaching at Skema, with a focus on new dynamic configurations based on the principles of functional and circular economy. The primary goal of the innovation is to decrease the amount of material resources engaged in productive process (through circular economy), while simultaneously increasing the amount of immaterial resources in the process of value creation, distribution and capture.


Founded in 1879, Technische Universitat Berlin is one of the country’s largest and most prestigious research and education institutions.The University’s Institute for Machine Tools and Factory Management explores the potential for the implementation of a circular economy in the areas of remanufacturing technologies, circular business models and industrial symbiosis. Further institutes, such as the Department of Environmental Technology investigate solutions for the circular economy from a process science perspective for instance recycling technologies. Exemplary projects are the Collaborative Research Centre on Sustainable Manufacturing, the Brazilian-German Collaborative Research Initiative on Manufacturing Technology and Resource efficiency through decentralized cooperation in recycling networks.

UC Davis

Founded in 1905 and located in California, UC Davis is one of the world’s leading cross-disciplinary research and teaching institutions. It is recognised as a leader in the fields of Agriculture and Forestry, Energy, Transportation and Policy.

UC Davis runs the Industrial Ecology Network, a programme geared towards providing skills, training and applications of industrial ecology, focusing on the system perspective, materials, manufacturing and the circular economy, and applying that thinking a variety of systems including food, energy and transportation.

Universidad de Chile

Founded in 1842, Universidad de Chile is the oldest institution of higher education owned by the State in Chile, with a national and public character, it is a research-orientated institution organised into 14 faculties.

Circular economy is an important theme at the University’s Engineering School, where a management certificate, “Strategies and methodologies for a circular economy”, is offered. The school is committed to exposing its students to the circular economy framework and the business case for the transition.

Universidad Nacional de Quilmes

Founded in 1989, the Institute for Science and Technologies Studies of the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes is a leading university in science and technology at both a regional and national level, as well as being referenced internationally.

The university runs a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development Technologies, where the socio-technical elements of a circular economy are explored. A research programme on a similar theme is focusing on specific developments in renewable energy, natural capital restoration, waste reuse and recycling, and secure access to water and food.

Universiteit Gent

Founded in 1817, Universiteit Gent is one of Belgium's major universities and is particularly notable for its research across a range of social and exact sciences.

Gent's CAPTURE research programme aims to break silos and technology pipelines focuses on solutions for the recovery and economically viable utilisation of waste water, plastics and CO2. Resource recovery is also a subject for the international Masters programme SINReM and the European joint PhD programme SuPER-W.

Universite de Montreal

Based at the Universite de Montreal, which with its affiliated schools (HEC Montreal, Polytechnique Montreal) hosts 66,000 students and 2600 professors, the Institute for Environment, Sustainable Development and Circular Economy (EDDEC) aims to synergise the expertise of professors, researchers and students from all relevant disciplines to develop research, training, dialogue and action.

The institute’s collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach is based upon the idea that the development and implementation of the circular economy will involve the contributions of almost all disciplines and stakeholders. EDDEC has already engaged with more than 150 researchers and students at Universite de Montreal.

University of Edinburgh

Founded in 1582, the University of Edinburgh is the sixth oldest university in the English speaking world. Its campus is embedded in Scotland’s capital city and it regularly ranks among the world’s elite institutions.

Circular economy courses currently exist in Design and Technology Education, the College of Art, the Business School and School of Chemistry. The university regularly hosts circular economy related events and has the ambition to bring together relevant disciplines around the topic, both in terms of research and teaching. Links with the Scottish government and local industry are also strong.

University of Queensland

Located in Brisbane, Australia and founded in 1909, the University of Queensland (UQ) currently hosts over 7000 staff and 50,000 students.

UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) is active in research related to the circular economy and the mining/metals industries. SMI has a particular focus on opportunities to derive value from end-of-life products and industrial waste through projects such as the Wealth from Waste Cluster. The outcomes from this research will help increase the circular use of metals in the Australian economy. The School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management conduct related circular economy research across other industry sectors.

University of Sheffield

A world top-100 civic university, the University of Sheffield was founded more than a hundred years ago and is renowned for its research and intellectual leadership.

Different parts of the institution have tackled the circular economy: The Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre (AREC) researches opportunities to transform the way in which resources are accounted for throughout supply chains - work that filters into the MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Meanwhile, the university’s Urban Institute hosts the Integrated Infrastructure Network (IIN), a unique international collaboration of diverse researchers and practitioners, which looks at the role of integrated infrastructures in providing enhanced efficiency, resilience and adaptability for the cities of the future.

University of Strathclyde

Based in Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde received its Royal Charter in 1964 as the UK’s first technological university, it is the third largest university in Scotland by number of students.

The University of Strathclyde is home to cutting edge remanufacturing and smart cities centres, both critical subject areas for the future of the global economy. Research groups in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering are working on a number of circular economy relevant areas, including the potential to create more effective and recyclable flows for materials, most notably glass fibre composites.

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

With a total enrolment of over 40,000 students, UTS is one of Australia’s largest universities. Based in central Sydney, this dynamic and innovative institution, formerly known as the New South Wales Institute of Technology, was founded in 1964.

Both the Institute of Sustainable Futures and UTS Business School have put circular economy at the core of the work that they do. UTS is part of the Wealth from Waste Research cluster, which aims to identify viable options for the recycling of metals from existing products in Australia. The university’s specific role is to examine potential business models that could facilitate circular material flows.

Worcester Processing Institute (WPI)

WPI was founded in 1865 with a mission to create and convey the latest science and engineering knowledge in ways that are beneficial to society and the economy. The university’s research is internationally recognised across a variety of areas, including sustainable materials processing, biotechnology, fuel cells, nanotechnology and information security.

As well as research overlaps, the concept of a regenerative circular economy is embedded across WPI’s curriculum

Network Universities